The issue with part quality and returns is on every shop owner's mind these days. It doesn't matter if you buy from NAPA, CARQUEST, Advance or O'Reillys. Poor quality parts, comebacks and getting the wrong part hurts our bottom line. I don't know how many of you track your losses with regard to comebacks and returns, I do. And I can tell you, it is doing more damage to your profit margin than you may think.
I don't have the answer but I will bring up one fact. In the industry's effort to reduce prices, we have sent a lot of manufacturing business overseas. In order to maintain or reduce price, too often quality suffers. But who's is to blame? The part companies, the shop owner's who are seeking low prices, the consumer?
The truth is, the time for pointing blame is gone. We need to change our mindset, not chose parts by price, but by quality. We need to start sending a message to our suppliers that we want quality not just price. We also need to insure that we don't have internal issues. Are our techs properly trained and do we have an adequate quality control system in place. Our reputation and the safety of the motoring public depends on it.
Here is one other fact that you cannot deny: If you reduce comebacks, improve quality, sell quality parts at a reasonable margin, you WILL make more money, have happier customers and have a lot less stress.
Here's a link to an interesting article on part quality from Aftermarket Business World